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 Tuesday, 31 December, 2002, 00:44 GMT
Football's missing knight
Bill Nicholson
Nicholson spent 16 years as Tottenham manager

A member of the 1961 Spurs Double-winning squad has led calls for Bill Nicholson to be knighted for his achievements.

The New Year Honours list was revealed on Wednesday but the former Spurs manager was a major omission, despite a clamour to mark the Yorkshireman's achievements in football.

I can't think of a single person who disliked him

Former Spurs midfielder
Terry Medwin

The former Tottenham player and manager, now 83, has spent 66 years at the same club, as a player, manager, scout and now its president.

Terry Medwin, who played 125 games under Nicholson, told BBC Sport Online that his former manager's career more than merited the honour.

"He was way ahead of his time in terms of coaching," he said.

"When I arrived from Cardiff, I was used to doing training which was dominated by running - but Nicholson was doing things which most clubs hadn't even thought of.

"He also had a lovely manner with the players - he treated us as individuals and that helped us to blend as a team."

Nicholson arrived at Spurs as a player in 1936 - helping the club to a league title under Sir Alf Ramsay in 1951.

Football's knights
Matt Busby
Alex Ferguson
Alf Ramsay
Bobby Robson
Bobby Charlton
Bobby Moore
Stanley Matthews
Geoff Hurst
Tom Finney

The Scarborough-born centre-half went on to play more than 300 games for the north London side.

But it was his achievements as a manager which cemented his legend at the club.

After taking over in 1958, Nicholson took his side to the league and Cup Double in 1961 - the first time the feat had been achieved in the 20th century.

There followed a European Cup-Winners Cup, the first European trophy by a British team, and a run of success in the FA Cup.

He retired in 1974 with a record every consequent Tottenham manager has been measured against - and struggled to live up to.

Medwin believes the secret to Nicholson's success was his level-headed nature and his work ethic.

"Bill is a true Yorkshireman - I saw him in October and he was exactly the same then as when I first met him," said Medwin.

"Sometimes I used to go past the club late at night and the office light would still be on - he was just devoted to the club.

Bill Nicholson Way
Nicholson has a road named after him - but no knighthood

"He is just really down to earth and has never been the flash sort. I can't think of a single person who disliked him."

Martin Peters, another star of Tottenham's Double-winning side, has also pushed for Nicholson to receive a knighthood.

"Bill has been a major servant to English football, like Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson have been, and he deserves to be in the same category," he said.

"He's a fantastic man and it was an honour to serve under him."

And for fans wishing to voice their support, a dedicated website has been set up where a petition is growing by the day.

Not that Nicholson - awarded an OBE in 1975 - is even likely to have considered his worthiness for the honour.

"I always said that it was an honour to serve Tottenham Hotspur and I feel the same every time I walk back into the stadium," he said.

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09 Aug 01 | Tottenham Hotspur
09 Aug 01 | Tottenham Hotspur
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